Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Dread and Anticipation

As most people are aware, we're expecting the arrival of this baby pretty much any day now.  I'm about 38 1/2 weeks along, and I really think that every day I look larger.  At 35 weeks I was convinced that it wasn't possible for me to get any bigger.  I was wrong.  I will confess that I've even dreamed a few times of being a normal size again, and then I wake up to this bowling ball situation, and I would be lying if I said that I haven't felt a little disheartened.  There's still a part of me that hasn't fully embraced the idea that there actually is an end to all this.  Justin is enthusiastically counting down to the due date and every day informs me of how much time is left.  I, on the other hand, am the one in the bowling ball situation, and the descriptions I've read of how the delivery of said bowling ball is going to go has tainted my enthusiasm with a bit of dread as well.  My countdown has a note of hesitancy to it.

Justin is also in the middle of his summer training course at Camp Williams, and his days off have become very scarce.  His instructors did arrange for him to get the 4th and 5th of July off, which was an unexpected windfall for us.  We were very excited to be able to get those two days off to do something together.  It being summer and all we decided to immediately leave town and head to the mountains.  Actual camping isn't really on the table at this point, but hiking is the next best thing.  On the 4th we selected a little hike called Cecret Lake.  It was far from secret, but beautiful none the less.

I'd tell you how long and what the elevation gain was on that one, but everything we read gave drastically different numbers, so who knows.  Suffice it to say that it wasn't exactly the "stroll" described by one blogger, but I did it, so that should be some indicator of difficulty.

Despite the fact that the hike on the 4th made my hands swell up like little sausages, we still decided to go to a second lake the next day called Silver Lake, which actually is nothing more than a stroll.

Taken from the trail to the next lake.
We got bored with it, and kind of annoyed with the volume of other visitors.  I don't really like going out into the mountains to stand inches away from strangers who seem to have an undying fascination with the sounds emitting from their own vocal chords.  It's not my thing.  So, Justin and I talked about hiking a couple of miles up to another lake, and we decided against it, and then decided we should, and then against it again, and then there we were at the trailhead, and it just seemed like the obvious thing to do, so we did.  This one was about a mile and quarter with a 700 something elevation gain, so again not exactly strenuous under normal circumstances.  I found it to be a bit of a challenge, but I did manage to trudge my way up and back, and was rewarded by seeing a couple of moose, a beautiful lake, an escape from the crowds at the lower lake, and a return of the sausage fingers.  Definitely worth it.

One thing Justin and I noticed while doing this hiking is that a lot of people feel a need to make remarks to me about doing this stuff pregnant.  I've been the recipient of all kinds of words of encouragement and support from other hikers.  However, every now and again I would notice that we would pass someone on the trail that would look at us and say nothing.  I could see judgement all over their faces, but not towards me.  I would see them look at me like they feel bad for me, and then give Justin a withering glare as he passed.  Justin confirmed that he's also noticed it, and realized that some of them probably think he's a jerk that has dragged me out there against my will to do this stuff...and he doesn't care.  We loved it, and I was sorry when his days off were over.  This is the sort of thing that makes me feel really excited about getting this kid here.  Justin will be done with training in September, and I can finally transfer this little bowling ball over to him and the three of us can go enjoy what's left of our summer.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Our Neighbors Probably Take Pictures of Us

Today when I got home, I was dragging myself across the parking lot when I came across a small little bird that had fallen from it's nest and appeared to be in state of distress hopping around, sort of, but mostly just squeaking and falling over in the parking lot, waiting to get run over.  It wasn't making any sort of forward progress.  I couldn't just leave it there, which was my primary argument to Justin when I walked into the apartment with a baby bird in my hands, and he asked what in the world we were supposed to do with it.  A very valid question.  I resorted to an internet search and determined that the best thing to do would be to try and locate the nest from which it fell and drop it back in there.  This seemed like the best plan, primarily because the bird would presumably not get run over, or die on our hands.

We located the nest built in a corner of the parking cover.  Unfortunately it was too high for Justin to reach up and return the bird.  So after several moments of deliberation we decided that the best course of action would be for Justin to get down on all fours in the parking spot while I climb up on his back and deposit the bird back in the nest.  So that's what we did, and I'm certain that we looked absurd, particularly with me there 7 months pregnant teetering on my husband's back.  For the record the bird did appear to be more than a little bit eager to be returned to it's nest, there was a lot of tweeting and eager hopping to get back into it.  At the time I was just pleased with ourselves for completing the mission, but in retrospect I realize how ridiculous we must have looked out there, and I wish we had a picture of it, and it wouldn't surprise me to find out that our neighbors actually do.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Riverton

Since my last update here our plans for our future have changed, yet again.  Originally the idea was to move to Logan in January and get Justin contracted with the ROTC program at USU, he'd complete his degree, commission, go active duty, and we would be whisked off to his first duty station just as my contract with the National Guard ended.  It was a great plan, until things changed and in the interest of brevity, I'll just skip all the why's and say that now we're living in Riverton.  Justin has transferred to the Utah National Guard, works full-time for them, is going to be in school for a new MOS (military job) all summer long, and then sometime early next year we are hoping (but not excited about it) to return to Monterey where he can study Russian at DLI.  After that we can get back to the whole Logan, USU, commissioning, active duty business. 

This little change of plans all happened rather suddenly, and we count ourselves very blessed for how quickly and easily everything fell into place to facilitate the move here.  I can't say that I loved shuttling Justin off to Utah to start the new job while I stayed behind in Boise alone to try and get all of our junk packed up and ready for the move, without a car, and 5 months pregnant, but the move is well behind us now, thanks to help from his family and mine.  What I can say is that despite our lack of enthusiasm for this move to Utah (we really would not have been sad about another summer in Boise) we're enjoying our time here thus far.  The apartment is nice, the ward is great, Justin likes the job, we're still close to family, and thankfully the new doctor seems competent, and the hospital is just down the street.  I could literally walk there if I had to, but we finally got around to buying a second car, so it shouldn't come to that. 

Justin's training course this summer will lap right over the arrival of the baby this summer, so we're still keeping our fingers crossed that once the course starts his instructors will figure out a way to free him up for a little bit so he can actually be there for the baby's arrival.  Wouldn't that be nice?  I feel like it would.

In the meantime we've been trying to cram in as much interesting things into our free weekends as we can before his course starts in late June, or before the doctor tells me it's time to end the travel and start staying home.  We've spent a weekend back in Boise for his sister's homecoming, and then a weekend in Salt Lake with his family at Lagoon, which was fun but gave me a better appreciation for my mother who was always sidelined on our family trips with a pregnancy or sibling too small to do any riding, we took a day trip to St. George that was fantastic.  We left home at the crack of dawn with Justin's sister Brianna along for the days adventures, went straight to the Saint George temple for a session, and then after a lunch break drove out to Zion and did a couple of little hikes, and arrived home around midnight.  I would have liked to have done something a bit more ambitious, but it seemed ill-advised.  Here are a few pictures:


I know that my outfit is ridiculous, but unfortunately I discovered the night before we left that I've gotten so big that none of my hiking pants or work out pants could be stretched far enough to accommodate the proportions that I have now reached.  My only option was a pair of Justin's basketball shorts.  That's what it's come to, wearing man clothes.  We will be purchasing something else before we go on any more outdoor type activities.  Either way, it was fun.  We spent a good chunk of last weekend in Park City, and between that stuff and our drill weekends we've kept pretty busy.  Not sure what we'll come up with for this weekend, but I sense Justin has already started formulating a plan.  We have internet now, so hopefully I'll be able to update this more regularly now. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Winter Carnival

All last winter Justin kept telling me about a winter carnival in McCall, Idaho complete with ice and snow sculptures.  It sounded interesting, but more cold than interesting.  The idea of driving two hours in icy and snowy conditions just to tromp around for hours in subfreezing temperatures, through piles of snow to stare at a few sculptures that could just as easily be viewed online just wasn't that appealing.  I secretly hoped that this topic would not be revisited again this year.  No such luck, Justin started talking about it again in October, and eventually had his whole family hyped up for the event, along with our next door neighbor Judy.  So the only thing to do at that point is start planning out the proper winter equipment to make the expedition tolerable.  Fortunately, I can still squish myself into my winter coat, the weather up there became unexpectedly warm, and therefore the road conditions up were mostly clear.  Had it been a different year I might be on here whining about my husband dragging me up there and making me suffer, but it really wasn't too bad.  I wouldn't describe it as warm, I mean the entire lake up there was completely frozen over, but I found the conditions to be tolerable with the assistance of toe and hand warmers.  The sculptures were actually very interesting, and I've truthfully never seen anything quite like it in person.
Justin preparing to enter the Sphinx.

One of the mummies inside the Sphinx.

Interior walls

The Goodale family.  Judy declined to be featured in this photo.




Brooke and the brothers standing in the middle of the frozen lake.

...and then the inevitable snowball fight with the brothers.

For some reason men seem immune to the cold.  My husband returned to me about 45 minutes later with snow down his collar, a clump still sitting inside his frozen ear, and a huge grin on his face like it was the most fun he'd had in months.  I was tired and cold and ready to go, but glad we made the trip.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Breaking up with my couch

I haven't updated this in several months, ever since our trip ended.  Our lives have been pretty boring since the trip, primarily because we found out about a week before the trip ended that we will be expecting a little addition to the family.  The due date is July 21st.  Unfortunately by the time we arrived back in Boise the morning sickness had already started.  Why didn't anyone tell me that I would feel like barfing every single time I brush my teeth?!  WHY?!  It's the part I hate the most. 

Coming home from a 3 week road trip sick, isn't exactly how I had envisioned things.  I think ideally one would like to have a clean house and freezer meals in place before months of illness descend on them.  Fortunately it's just the two of us, so our lack of preparedness was...ummm, well it all fell to Justin, and he's been great.  Laundry, dishes, cleaning, grocery shopping, cooking, you name it, he's done it.  I was one of the unlucky women who don't get morning sickness in waves, but rather in one large, long tidal wave that is incessant unrelenting nausea.  I've been logging a lot of long, boring hours on my couch trying to hold down the last meal, but here we are in week 15 and I think I have at long last recovered and today I had long stretches (hours long) where I felt totally normal.  NORMAL...well, aside from the fact that I still slept an absurd number of hours last night, and I have developed a sense of smell that could rival a bloodhound.  Although this naturally only applies to repulsive odors.  I think that Justin is equally relieved to see the morning sickness break.  He's already developing a list of future outings, and seems pretty eager about the possibility of me resuming my normal household duties.  We've been super excited all along, but it's even easier to feel excited when I don't feel sick.  We really cannot wait for July.  We're not finding out what I'm having.  Justin would, but I love surprises, so he lets me have my way on this one.

Now if we could just get the weather to warm up.  I'm more than a little bit ready for spring!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

This Can't be Right...

First of all, to address Carrie's question about Branson, I have no photos from Branson, MO.  We didn't actually spend very much time there because we spent most of the day in one of Justin's areas an hour or so away.  However, we did make it back in time to do some outlet shopping, and look around town wishing that there were more people with us.  For some reason that city strikes us as the sort of place you want to go with a crowd, not as a couple.  In part this is because we aren't "show" type people, but we thought that it would be fun if someone forced us out of that mindset and pressured us into doing things that we don't ordinarily do on our own.  I would like to go back at some point.

Carlsbad Caverns turned out to be amazing.  It exceeded all of my rather limited expectations.  Justin and I elected to enter through the natural entrance:
There were all kinds of signs indicating that it would add about two miles of walking and was classified as very strenuous.  Although I still wouldn't classify it as "very strenuous," my knees might.  It was pretty much two hours of straight down switchbacks, like the ones pictured above.  Worth it, but I wouldn't mock anyone who decides not to put their knees and ankles through that, and just elects to take the elevator that will shoot you down 700 feet below the Earth's surface in a matter of minutes.  Right as those people stroll off the elevator they are greeted by one of the features of the cavern that I found most fascinating, a restaurant, souvenir shop, and restrooms complete with flush toilets. 
It wasn't really what I was expecting.  We continued on to the Big Room
There were literally miles of paths that took you through all sorts of different weird cavern features.  We spent hours in there.  All the pictures are on facebook, if you have interest in viewing more...which you should, but I have no interest in taking the time to post more of them here.

From there were drove to Tucson where we spent the night, visited the senior missionary couple that gave Justin and I our first introduction over breakfast at a McDonald's in Sierra Vista on the temple trip where we met.  We continued on from there to San Diego where we spent a couple of days visiting my Cousin Trent and his family, and went to the San Diego Zoo, and Seaworld.  Pictures have not yet been downloaded from this portion of the trip.  We attended the wedding of one of Justin's closest friends and then began the homeward trek through Nevada (where we stopped at Hoover Dam), spent the night in Utah, and finally 21 days, and 15 states later we have returned to our little apartment in Boise.  We are not sorry to have made the trip, but not sorry to be home either. 

We returned the rental car later that evening, and when the lady checking it in got in to log the mileage, she emerged from the car a second later with a rather puzzled look on her face and said "This can't be right, I show that you put 6,905 miles on this car?  That must be wrong..."  I told her it wasn't wrong, and she assumed a look of total astonishment as she inquired where it had been, and looked more shocked as I rattled of a few of the states.  Finally she just shrugged and said okay.  Probably not the number she's used to seeing, but they said unlimited mileage...


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Where are we?

This whole business of trying to blog as we travel pretty much got kicked to the way side a while back.  I ended up falling behind, which is a shame because we have had many interesting adventures.  We've gone from Branson, MO, to Oklahoma, Arkansas, Dallas, and now we find ourselves in the rather trashy town of Roswell, NM.

Along the way we've met many wonderful people from Justin's mission and we have seen some interesting things here and there as well.  We stopped in El Dorado Springs where I drank some magic waters that will allegedly cure all my ailments, but truthfully it tasted gross, so I'm pretty much convinced that it was bad for me.  
We also visited the town of Marionville, MO because we learned that the park there is home to one of only a very few groups of albino squirrels in the world:
We were able to spot three of them.  We also visited the Wal-Mart museum, in Bentonville, AR, where it all began:
Oh, and visited the first Bass Pro Shop in Springfield, MO:
When we got to Texas to visit Devon and his family I got to sit on a Texas Longhorn.  I had a moment just as a swung my leg over it's back that if this thing turned out to be not quite as docile as it seemed that this could be it for me, but when I mentioned this to Devon he pointed out that I might possibly have ended up on one of those "when animals snap" videos.  Alas, it was not to be, and I continue to live a life of relative anonymity.
This morning we said goodbye to Devon and Annette, and continued on in the wrong direction for some time before we got ourselves straightened out and were able to make the most uninteresting drive ever across the state of Texas on a two-lane highway that Justin deemed to be the best route.  If by "best" he met "ugly and boring" he definitely found it.  We did pullover briefly for me to grab a little wad of cotton from the side of the road.  I had to hurl it out the window though when after making a close inspection of the item it occurred to me that cotton might have a boll weevil in it.  Pretty irrational considering I'd already been sitting there inspecting my find and tugging it off the seed for several minutes, but the mere idea grossed me out so much that I was forced to rid myself of the item immediately.

We have now arrived in Roswell, NM just in time to visit the International UFO Museum and Research Center:
The lady at the front desk told us that some people spend all day exploring the museum.  Justin and I found 30 minutes to be pretty adequate.  Tomorrow we visit Carlsbad Caverns!